Regional airline REDjet is expected to expand its fleet by this year end and it yesterday sought to explain several hiccups with its service in which hundreds of passengers were affected.
The airline’s representatives noted at a press conference at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA), Timehri that 11 flights were delayed and an additional 15 were cancelled during the period from August 21 to September 2.
In a statement, the airline noted that the reasons for the delay were that one of its two McDonnell Douglas MD 82 aircraft was undergoing pre-planned scheduled l maintenance while the other, which would have been operational during the period, had problems with its hydraulic system.
The airline noted that the passing of Hurricane Irene compounded the situation since the sourcing of spare parts was delayed. At the same time, several hiccups occurred while seeking permission from local regulators to source another aircraft to complete flights during the period.
According to the airline, it holds a 100% safety and security commitment to its passengers, crew and aircraft and as such it made the right call to ensure that the commitment was upheld.
The airline noted that it was desperately disappointed that its passengers faced disruption of their travel plans and delays during the affected period. It said that its staff worked tirelessly to ensure that its passengers were kept abreast of the situation while those who were affected were given the requisite care.
The airline stated that it will continue to deliver, “the most reliable and lowest fares service for consumers”, adding that lease agreements were already in place for additional aircraft.
To this end, REDjet noted that it is making a US$6M investment to add to its fleet with two additional aircraft, one of which will be operational in December this year and another within the first quarter of 2012.
At the same time 75 jobs will be created within the first quarter of next year and an additional 75 within the second half of that year. The areas of work were listed as sales/administration (47), pilots (25), cabin crew (48), and maintenance, operational and engineering staff (30).
Three Fridays ago, the airline was forced to cancel all its flights to and from Guyana, Trinidad and Barba-dos, citing aircraft hydraulic problems. The decision affected over 600 passengers.
REDjet noted that it issued refunds to affected passengers on their tickets booked, while some passengers preferred to remain on standby with the airline until the resumption of the airline’s service.
The airline operates two McDonnell Douglas MD 82-type aircrafts, which were once operated by Delta Airlines for its regional operations in North America.
Billed as the Caribbean’s first low cost airline, REDjet entered the regional airline industry with a well-trumpeted plan to end high air fares. The airline faced several teething problems soon after its launch, including difficulty getting an Air Operators Certificate to operate into Jamaica from its base at the Grantley Adams International airport in Barbados.
After extensive reviews of its operational plans, the authorities in the two countries recently granted the airline permission to operate there and REDjet announced the operation of flights between Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago starting this month.
The airline is in discussions with the governments of St Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica to operate into those countries.